My bags are packed and I'm off to Lake Placid, New York, to cover the 2008 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships!
Hosted by the Olympic Regional Development Authority and The Skating Club of Lake Placid, the event runs from April 9 - April 12 and affords an opportunity for the best adult (age 21+) skaters from around the country to compete for national titles in singles, pairs, ice dancing and interpretive free skating. The very first Adult Nationals were held in 1995 in Wilmington, Delaware and this year marks the fifth time that the Lake Placid Olympic Arena in Lake Placid will hold the event. Approximately 600 skaters/couples are expected to enter the competition.
Competitors are grouped in events by age, and there are five age categories:
- Class I: 21-28 years old
- Class II: 29-35 years old
- Class III: 36-45 years old
- Class IV: 46-55 years old
- Class V: 56 years old and over
Competitors are also divided into three skill levels: gold, silver and bronze, and then also into two tracks: masters and adults. Here's a (hopefully) simple explanation on what these levels and tracks mean:
For singles, a standard test track is as follows:
- Senior freestyle
- Senior moves in the field
- Junior freestyle
- Junior moves in the field
- Novice freestyle
- Novice moves in the field
- Intermediate freestyle
- Intermediate moves in the field
- Juvenile freestyle
- Juvenile moves in the field
- Pre-Juvenile freestyle
- Pre-Juvenile moves in the field
- Preliminary freestyle
- Preliminary moves in the field
- Pre-Preliminary freestyle
- Pre-Preliminary moves in the field
For us adults, the tests track Pre-Preliminary through Juvenile, but with a more relaxed judging standard. So, Adult Pre-Bronze is equivalent to Pre-Preliminary. Adult Bronze is equivalent to Preliminary. Adult Silver is equivalent to Pre-Juvenile. Adult Gold is equivalent to Juvenile. Beyond that, a skater is considered a Master. This is pretty high-level stuff that these adults are doing! Most have jobs and other responsibilities like the rest of us, yet they find the time and discipline to try and compete at the highest level. Isn't that amazing? I can't wait to cheer them on and will be posting results, photos, videos and interviews with the skaters I'll be meeting up in Lake Placid.
U.S. Figure Skating has four official adult competitions: Eastern, Midwestern, and Pacific Coast Sectionals, which were held in early March 2008, and these Adult Nationals. Sectionals only include the qualifying track, called "Championship," which is typically more competitive. The top four skaters in each Championship event qualify for the Championship event at Nationals. So I'm especially looking forward to the Championship Masters Free Skate, Championship Adult Gold Free Skate, Championship Adult Dance, and Championship Adult Pairs. In these Championship events, there are no age restrictions, so you may have 25-year-olds competing with 45-year-olds and what a competition that will be!
And rest assured, I will not miss any of the Interpretative Free Skating, which has now officially been divided into two separate events: Artistic/Dramatic and Light Entertainment/Comedy. Doesn't Adult Nationals just sound fun with these different categories? This is what skating is all about, isn't it? Fun fun fun...